Ask Me How to Make $1,500 and Get Clean Air
Admittedly, the title above sounds like the marketing campaign for a weight loss product, but perhaps that’s what is needed to get the message out about the most effective solution to the climate crisis.
The majority of Americans believe we have to do something to lower the greenhouse gases that are causing climate change, but they’re concerned about what it will cost them. The solution involves putting a price on carbon that makes clean energy competitive with fossil fuels, but this will make energy and products more expensive.
So, how do we stop climate change without putting everybody in the poor house?
By putting a fee on carbon and then returning the revenue to all Americans.
Citizens Climate Lobby has a legislative proposal we call the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act. It calls for placing a fee on coal, oil or gas based on the amount of carbon-dioxide these fuels will emit when burned. The fee would start at $15 per ton of CO2 and increase steadily, at least $10 each year. Within a decade, economists estimate that such a fee will make energy alternatives – wind, solar, water – competitive with fossil fuels, at which point we’ll be well on our way toward transitioning to a clean-energy economy.
The revenue collected from this fee would be distributed equally to all households. The U.S. currently emits 6 billion tons of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, which means the fee would generate a tremendous amount of revenue. In ten years, the fee will reach $115 per ton of CO2. Assuming emissions will have dropped by one third, this fee will be applied to 4 billion tons of CO2, generating $460 billion dollars in revenue. Divided by 300 million people, that gives us a per-capita share of about $1,500.
With all of the revenue returned, it’s estimated that 70 percent of all households would receive as much or more from the carbon dividend as they would pay for increased energy costs. Those who make smart choices and investments in energy efficiency will pocket more of the dividend.
So, there you have it -- $1,500 and clean air. We can get it by enacting the Carbon Fee and Dividend Act.